They Sparkle!

But not in a vampire-y way…

Blech, sorry for radio silence… the end of summer imposes almost criminal negligence on everything but work and social activities, and aquarium blogs are not at the top of the list of things that demand time.  The aquariums, on the other hand, are, as late summer is when Nefarious Algae swarms en masse.  I’ve been keeping the dreaded hair algae at bay in both tanks but the 30g has gradually but noticeably developed a case of green bubble algae.

From Scott Zachow's article, "Nuisance Algae in the Reef Aquarium."  Note how the freakin' Peyssonnelia comforts the bubble algae and whispers sweet nothings in its ear...

From Scott Zachow's article, "Nuisance Algae in the Reef Aquarium." Note how the freakin' Peyssonnelia comforts the bubble algae and whispers sweet nothings in its ear...

Every few months I do a full breakdown of the circulation and filtration equipment.  I fill up a bucket with one part white vinegar to five parts hottish (110 degrees or so) water, put the equipment in the bucket, and turn them back on.  After an hour, I dump out the vinegar water and refill it with another round of plain old hot water, let the equipment run in that for thirty minutes, and do a second dump-and-purge to get rid of the last of the vinegar.    Then I take apart the equipment and clean the internal thingamabobs with a toothbrush, give the pieces a final rinse, and put everything back the way it was.

When reassembled and replaced in the tank, the equipment seems new.  I should probably do this every month when I clean out the filter media but (1) it takes several hours, (2) I kill the thousands of small copepods, snails, and other livestock that live in the equipment (this last time I saw a tiny starfish drying at the bottom of the sink… *aaaah!*), and (3) I burn the everloving shit out of my arm on the frogspawn coral.  The frogspawn doesn’t like to be moved and is placed near the filtration equipment, so I’m constantly reaching across it when I do a full cleaning.  Gloves won’t help… the frogspawn always burns me right around the elbow, which is too high up the arm to be protected by gloves.  And it’s always a delayed burn, so the enormous itching welts don’t show up for twelve hours or more and gives me plenty of time to delude myself into thinking I avoided the frogspawn.

Still, the breakdown was necessary and will hopefully cut through the bubble algae.  The filter and the skimmer were running poorly towards the end, probably the result of biological sediment buildup in the bits that were supposed to turn.  Today, they’re percolating along like happy little filth-flavored coffee makers.  I’ve added two emerald crabs and I think the crabs, with the help of the rejuvenated equipment, will be able to bring the algae under control.

Tomorrow I’ll do the same thing to the pumps and powerheads in the 65g.  The tank is still so new that I don’t need to do a full breakdown of the canister filter, but the circulation equipment could use a decent scrubbing.  Besides, one of the MH bulbs burned out so the canopy has to come down anyhow, and it’s always easier to dick around with powerheads without a lighting fixture in the way.

Okay, he MIGHT be a mass-murdered, but he might also be a sweet, cuddly kitten.  Or both, like a member of the Sweathogs.

Okay, he MIGHT be a mass-murdered, but he might also be a sweet, cuddly kitten. Or both, like the Sweathogs.

Oh, about the fish… there might be some revisionist history to the stocking list.  The Pacific Reef at the National Aquarium had numerous healthy, happy blackcap basslets that were openly cavorting in the sunlight.  I had read that these guys didn’t want to do anything but live in dark caves at depths of 150ft or more, and was astonished that they weren’t lurching around like Frankenstein at high noon.  So I went home and did some more reading and it looks as though they’re generally a well-adjusted fish in the aquarium.  It’s too bad that I didn’t discover this before Lydia was added to the tank, as mixing a basslet with a dottyback is asking to lose money.

Psssst – only 45 days to Mandarin Goby!

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~ by KBSpangler on August 21, 2009.

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